Science Behind Ketone Supplements

Part Two: For those like me who enjoy the science

After discussing the application and benefits of exogenous ketones in my last post, I want to dive into some science behind them and highlight the differences between various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

What Are Ketones?

Natural, Clean Energy

Ketones are our fourth fuel substrate, they are clean-burning as they reduce the production of potentially harmful Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside cells. Plus they also clean up ROS produced from other metabolic processes.

Ketones have been shown to be preferable fuel for the brain over glucose as they aid in brain development. When ketones are present they preserve glucose for pentose phosphate pathway which results in ribose for DNA syntheses and NADPH for lipid biosynthesis

Before we touch on ketone supplements you must first understand the mechanism that defines the state of ketosis. Simply put, when your body is in a state of ketosis, ketone bodies are present in a higher concentration than normal (0.5+ mmol/L). I have discussed this further in the previous post

Three Ketone Bodies:

  • Acetate (Acetone): Is the least abundant, produced in much smaller amounts, and is usually exhaled through the lungs rather than being used as fuel.
  • Acetoacetate (AcAc): Is part of the metabolic pathway whereby humans make and use ketones, but it tends to be found in the blood at lower levels than BHB.
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) Is the most prevalent of the ketones. Due to far higher concentrations and existing outside the cell, compared to Acetone and Acetoacetate it is widely used to measure ketone levels.

Two Forms of BHB:                                                                

  • D-β-hydroxybutyrate: The right-handed version. 

“D” comes from the Latin dexter.

  • L-β-hydroxybutyrate: The left-handed version, lab-made ketones.                    

“L” comes from the Latin laevus.

D-BHB vs. L-BHB: Which is better?

There is currently a lot of controversy around which form is safest and best to use as a supplement form. One side argues the D-BHB is superior in enhancing mitochondrial function, whereas other evidence suggests a mixture of D & L is handled better and more beneficial for neurological diseases and cancer. L-BHB is thought to be a signaling molecule to reduce inflammation and has been shown to also convert a portion to D-BHB. Additionally, the production of D-β-hydroxybutyrate (right-handed) is a more expensive supplement to produce.

When measuring it may appear that D-BHB promotes higher blood ketone levels. However, that is because most commercial ketone measuring devices only measure D-BHB, not L-BHB.

To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a comprehensive study to truly determine if D-βHB is more beneficial than DL regarding general use applications, or value to the consumer from a financial perspective.

History of Ketones

Ketones are nothing new, it is just our understanding that has changed. beginning, in 1865 scientist discovered a molecule called acetoacetate in the urine of diabetic patients. Acetoacetate is a ketone or also known as a ketone body. Through discovering acetoacetate ultimately led them to identify BHB.

In identifying them, they began seeing BHB in high concentrations in uncontrolled diabetics (Ketoacidosis), thus leading scientist to label ketones as bad. However, as our understanding has grown this was shown to be short-sighted and to predominantly be a factor for uncontrolled diabetics patients.

Ketoacidosis is Not Ketosis

I know it sounds similar but they are the same.

Ketoacidosis or Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Associated with a dangerously high combination of ketones (much higher than ketosis) and blood sugars which makes your blood too acidic. As limited insulin is available for the cells to adequately uptake the sugar (glucose) in the blood to use for energy. Ultimately this can alter the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. It is a critical condition that requires prompt treatment as it is a life-threatening condition and often occurs quickly within as little as 24hrs.

DKA Ketone levels can increase up to 20-25 mM, which decreases blood pH, whereas a state of ketosis is determined as 0.5-3mM. With an upper threshold of 7-8 mM (e.g. during very-low-calorie Keto Diet and use of exogenous ketone supplements).

DKA is a predominantly a factor for type 1 diabetes but individuals with type 2 diabetes who have little or no insulin production, need to be careful as it can occur if not controlled.

Ketone Supplements:

  • Ketone salts: This is the form found in most ketone supplements available on the market. Ketone salts are a compound consisting of a mineral ion, such as sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and BHB. Ketone salts are high in electrolytes; so they can aid replenishing electrolytes lost in urine while on the ketogenic diet.
  • Ketone esters: Ketone esters are primarily used in research and are not currently available to consumers. This form consists of pure beta-hydroxybutyrate or Acetoacetate without other additives.
  • MCT Oils: Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) doesn’t contain BHB but has been shown to moderately raise BHB levels. MCT’s require a greater amount of processing than other exogenous ketones thus taking longer to get into ketosis. Along with this, MCT’s are a more calorie dense which could be counterproductive for those needing to watch their caloric intake.

What Ketone Supplements do I use?

I personally utilise a mix of MCT Oils and Ketone Salts. I have used them for close to two years now and couldn’t imagine life without them especially the Pruvit (ketone salts).

My goal is performance and un-tapping my potential, I can’t settle for suboptimal, I want to always be performing at my best. Therefore, I use these supplements in many varying capacities from training and racing (triathlon), speeding up my recovery, to increase my mental capacity and clarity (ps. I am functioning on ketones as I write the majority of my blog posts 😉 ). Aside from performance end I also utilise Pruvit for longevity and to keep hunger at bay and extend my fasts so perfect for travel or when on the go with no good food insight or time, this gets me through these dangerous moments and keeps me functioning at a high level without hunger pains or cravings.

MCT Oils (Bulletproof or Melrose): I use this mostly when I need a little bit of mental and energy boost, but mostly to keep my hunger at bay. Plus sometimes to blunt the effects of those carbohydrate treats for me this normally means MCT Oil on my fruit salad. 

Ketone Salts (Pruvit): MCT is great but nothing compares with Ketone Salts, this would have to the biggest performance enhancing supplement I have ever taken, it is my rocket fuel!

Mixing Things Up:

I have traditionally taken each supplement separately until recently when I came across research stating the benefits associated with a combination of both Ketone salts (BHB) and MCT’s. This combo has been shown to further elevate the BHB response in the blood. Plus as it has a delayed gastric absorption it extends and sustains a higher elevation of blood ketone level over a longer period. The combination is looking extremely promising as it appears to be better than either ketone salts or MCT’s alone. Even better, it has been reported that it may remove the adverse gastrointestinal emptying effects of MCT oil that is often associate when MCT is taken on its own. However, further research is required to identify ratios and best application

Recently I have been playing around with my own ratios and I have introduced MCT oils into my staple long ride fuel of ketone salts and so far it has been great but I will keep you all posted with how I get on.

Why Pruvit?

Pruvit or Keto OS, which stands for “Ketone Operating System,” They were the first to patent to ketone technology, meaning they are most widely researched and used. Pruvit, is now one of the quickest growth nutrition based companies and has posted 400% year-to-year growth since its inception and is showing no signs of slowing down as it has recently moved into Canada, Asia, and Australia.

 

“I Need to Try Ketones for Myself!”

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Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Keytone Supplments: What is the Fuss about?

Ketone supplements or more technically known as ‘Exogenous Ketones’

Why All the Fuss?

The product has been shown to put you in ketosis in 30mins!

A profound statement when you compare to the time it takes to achieve nutritional ketosis through diet alone which normally takes around 2-3 days and potentially as long as 7 days! It is no wonder people are flocking to exogenous ketones. Plus with all the success stories it does not seem to be disappointing.

What is this magical state ‘Ketosis’?

When in a ketogenic state you produce ketones which simply put is your 4th fuel substrate so fat, protein, carbohydrate, and ketones. This state can be achieved by either restricting carbohydrate or by taking an external supplement such as exogenous ketones, that puts you into to this state and promotes production and use of ketones.

What does Ketosis Achieve?

  1. Weight loss
  2. Increased Energy & Mood
  3. Increased mental clarity & Focus
  4. Increased Performance (Mental & Physical)
  5. Better Sleep
  6. Faster Recovery
  7. Longevity

There are two types of ketones:

  • Endogenous ketones: Endogenous = ‘Endo’ = within. ‘Genous’ = origin.”                                                
  • These are ketones made naturally by the body through the process of ketogenesis.
  • Exogenous ketones:Exogenous = ‘Exo’ = external. ‘Genous’ = origin.”
  • These are ketones supplied to the body by an external source like a nutritional supplement

Application:

No doubt this sounds great but what are people using it for?

  1. Adaptation Phase: Keto Induction

Exogenous ketones are especially helpful for some getting started on a keto or high fat low carbohydrate (HFLC) diet because as you remove carbohydrate from your diet you will face two major challenges ‘Keto flu” and hungry/carbs cravings

  • Keto Flu: Adaptation to a ketogenic diet (keto-induction) can be associated with some unpleasant symptoms, this has been coined as “Keto Flu”. The symptoms associated have been shown to subside after 3-5 days and people report better energy and mental clarity afterward. However,

Exogenous ketones have been shown to be a viable aid in this induction period and avoiding keto flu.

How?

Keto Flu stems from a lack of sodium.  As you deplete your stored carbohydrate (glycogen), you lose 3-4 grams of water for every gram of glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Explaining the initial weight loss associated with ditching carbohydrates. Therefore, in this induction period, it is important to increase sodium (salt) intake to compensate for the loss of water and sodium to aid in retaining water loss. No need to stress, salt intake is not unhealthy like we have been fooled to believe. This is one way that exogenous ketones can help have they are packed full of salt it can aid in minimising this depletion and unpleasant effects associated.

  • Hungry/Carbohydrate Cravings:

The shift from carbohydrate can be difficult as you cut sugar (carbohydrate) it has been shown to reflect a similar addiction response to cocaine. Overcoming any addiction is not easy! The great thing is exogenous ketones can help with this as the increased satiety and remove cravings and instead of being bound to the pantry, hungry at all times, you end up finding that you will need to remind yourself to eat. This liberation from the need of continual refueling was one the most profound effect I personally saw.

 

  1. Weight Loss:

  • Calorie Restriction:

Yes, calories are important and no a calorie is not a calorie.

I personally recommended the approach ‘quality over quantity’, first as it is a more nutrient-dense plus for the purpose it will normally self-correct as you are more satisfied from good quality foods and will naturally limit calorie intake. However, to accomplish  weight loss goals you need to attain a healthy negative calorie balance and being in ketosis is one of the greatest methods in achieving this as mentioned above it curbs your hunger and cravings, liberating you from your need to snack and regularly refuel, resulting in you naturally extending periods between food and eating less at meal times and as a result you reduce your caloric intake which results in weight loss!

  • Lifestyle Buffer: When life gets the best of you, exogenous ketones are also great for keeping yourself on track. They are great for those who struggle with maintaining a strict ketogenic diet and find themselves slipping up, exogenous ketones will aid in buffering the effect of a slip-up, keeping you on track towards your goals.

Application: Take around and during the meal, to buffer response

 

  1. High Performers:

Perfect for any high flyers, always on the move that is either:

  • Time poor
  • Always on the road
  • Up in the air
  • In back to back meetings

Time poor and always traveling with back to back meetings doesn’t leave you much time to eat well, making it extremely hard to come across healthy options.

Dealing with a lot of high flyers, this is a never-ending question that I get asked as they gradually see a decline in their health as they continue down the vicious track. What if I was to tell you the solution is a small sachet that can increase mental clarity, focus, energy, mood while keeping you full till you have time to eat a nutritious meal. Obviously, we want to do our best to eat well but this aid will get you through the tough times, especially the tempting junk food found in conferences! With no insulin spikes and crash, so you won’t crave the slices and sausage rolls.

Especially helpful for those who fly a lot, it is well known how bad airplane food is. It not only tastes bad but because we lose taste buds in the air, they pack it full with sugar and sweeteners to make it palatable….. Instead, I say no to food and come prepared with a sachet of exogenous ketones to sip on and if long hall brings along my own healthy snack like macadamias. Ketones will also help with minimising effects of jet lag as another added bonus.

  • Productivity: Due to the increase in cognitive function and mental clarity, exogenous ketones are my biggest performance hack. Whenever I am under the pump or need to be productive you can guaranty I am sipping on some exogenous ketones.   

 

  1. Sporting Performance:

Performance cannot be forgotten exogenous ketones are like rocket fuel and amazing for all athletes from high intensity to endurance athletes.

The effects on athletes are phenomenal. Using them myself personally in training and racing across a variety of distances from sprint to Ironman Triathlon for the last year and a bit, I can personally attest to this. It is important to understand there is multiple applications to optimise sporting performance.  

  • Fat adapted (Metabolic Flexibility):

The ability to optimise your fuel substrate utilisation and tap into fat for fuel which has an endless supply of energy.  have to be one of the most powerful tools in training fat adaption as within 30mins they put you in a ketogenic state but also they help at keeping the hunger at bay allowing you to extend the fast. They are a great tool to use in the none key steady fasted sessions.

Can you spot my Keto OS Swiss Cacao

Training fasted? Fasted sessions are all about training your bodies ability to tap into your endless supply of fat stores instead of relying on external fueling of carbohydrate like a traditional athlete. You may think I’m crazy but I will often do a lot of my ironman training fasted, a couple hours on the bike followed by a run and then refuel afterward which could be a total of 18hr fast. However, important to remember this is a trained skill and fat adaptation takes approximately 3 months or so to train. I am never hungry or craving food and you shouldn’t be! If you are, eat! You should never suffer if so, you are playing with fire and will burn out due to excessive stress. Additionally, important to understand not all sessions should fasted, fast on steady-state training rather than high-intensity key sessions or longer sessions.

Application: Sip on full sachet across the session.

  • Recovery: The anti-inflammatory benefits of bringing in ketosis is not only beneficial for chronic health conditions but also your recovery from training and racing. Keeping blood sugar levels balanced you no longer get insulin spikes that are associated with an inflammatory response. I see the recovery component being one of the greatest underestimated benefits of exogenous ketones.

Recovery = Adaptation = Results

Drinking Keto OS while in my Recovery Boots in the middle of a big training weekend

Too many athletes neglect the recovery component, and in its place double down on training, putting themselves further in the hole and not allowing the body the time to adapt to training response. What if you could speed this process up and get back training sooner. Exogenous ketones will absolutely aid in a quicker recovery and are something I believe all high training load athletes need to consider. Maybe less important for sports which training frequency is low and have to recover but in sports like triathlon and especially sports like Ironman where you training 15-30hrs per week, most of the time on top of your full-time job, you really need to double down on recovery strategies as you are placing a significant amount of external stressors on your system. This needs to be balanced out!

Sleep is the most powerful component for recovery and exogenous ketones have shown to be effective in improving your sleep and I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of a good night’s sleep we all know the power that poses (For more information on the importance of sleep).

Application: Sip on half sachet before to get the benefits of alternate fuel source while training and racing and sip on the other half post session to promote recovery.

Or

Sip on full sachet post session across the remainder of the day to double down on recovery.

  • Endurance:

Want to go harder and for longer exogenous ketones are the answer! No longer in training do you need to rely on gels and blocks the wreak havoc with your Gastrointestinal (GI) system. Instead, you can fuel your training sessions on exogenous ketones. On most long rides I use ketones for fuel.

Fat Adaptation: Caveat

Although I have been discussing training low void of carbohydrate as much as possible when we race of looking to optimise performance it is a different story! We want to be metabolically flexible and race with the high amounts carbohydrate that our bodies can handle comfortably (Train Low Race High).

Why?

We want to optimise substrate utilisation, once fat adapted we can then utilise carbohydrate on race day/ race prep session (Test before the race!) to buffer our energy stores and give us the high octane fuel for those surges and sprints.

  1. Chronic Disease:

Chronic Health Conditions that might Benefit from Keto:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancer (glycolytic driven cancers)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Metabolic Syndromes
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  
  • Migraine headaches
  • Gastrointestinal conditions eg. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin conditions eg. acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis

 

A relatively new area of application and with lives at risk it is an area that obviously requires a lot of research to ensure validity. Not mainstream treatment by any means. However, many people are now well aware of the effects of ketosis on certain conditioning, especially as it has been used as a clinical treatment for epilepsy since 1920. People, as a result, have begun self-supplementing with exogenous ketones to help aid their treatments.

Other Applications

These applications discussed above are only the beginning and as the growing body of literature grows, I believe so to will the number of varying application. I take many performance-enhancing supplements but nothing has compared to Exogenous Keytones so I am excited to watch this field grow.

 

“I Need to Try Exogenous Ketones for Myself!”

Flick us at Taylored a message and we can get you set you up with a trial.

Info@tayloredhealth.co.nz

Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Next Post:

Following on from this post I will take it a step further into the science behind Exogenous Keytones and highlight the differences between the various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

Keto: Everything You Need to Know

The Ketogenic protocol or more commonly known as Keto is growing in popularity and no doubt you have heard about it, but are probably wondering what it is and why is there so much hype around it?

There is often a lot of confusion around what is keto and if it is right for particular individuals. It is important to remember everyone has different needs and requirements and the keto diet is not a panacea! However, for those that it is beneficial for, it has shown to have some profound effects, especially in aiding in chronic health conditions.

From High Fat Low Carbohydrate (HFLC), Paleo to Keto and everything in between there is some great confusion around the differences between them and what they are and what is the best approach. It becomes easy to get confused as within each approach (HFLC, Paleo & Keto) there is multiple sub-approaches to the protocols. For example, someplace greater or less focus on greens or proteins than others. It is no wonder everyone is lost and not sure where to start. My goal with this article is to cut through all this and simplify a very overcomplicated topic to arm you with the knowledge to make the best decision for your individual needs.

Let’s first define each of the key protocols, their history, philosophy and approach to nutrition.

 

1. Paleo protocol

Is the true ancestral approach that has been designed around how our ancestors used to live in the Palaeolithic Era.

Why? Our ancestors were lean, fit and remarkably free of chronic inflammatory disease. It works off the evolutionary process that for 66,000 generations, humans ate primarily meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants. While being physically active and not sitting for long periods.

For this reason, the Paleo approach aims to emulate our ancestors as much as possible, moving away from processed foods to a wholefoods diet that has more of a balanced split between fat, carbohydrate, and protein.

 

2. Ketogenic protocol (Keto)

The ketogenic protocol is very low-carb, that replaces carbs with high amounts of fat that triggers the body’s natural metabolic process known as “ketosis.” Through restricting carbohydrates, you deprive your body of its natural fuel source, glucose, this forces the body to burn stored fat for fuel instead of glucose. This process promotes your liver to produces “ketones”, a type of fatty acid, and sends them into your bloodstream where your muscles and other tissues can use them as fuel. Ketones are your 4th fuel substrate so fat, protein, carbohydrate, and ketones. It was once believed producing ketones (ketosis) was dangerous as it was thought to be a catabolic state but with the endless amounts of new research, it has been shown to be a preferable source of fuel for humans, offering wide-ranging benefits. One of the quickest ways to achieve a state of Ketosis is fasting, however, it can also occur in the absence of glucose within your diet. External sources such as Exogenous Ketone Supplements have also been shown to greatly speed up this pathway achieving ketosis within 30 mins vs a few days for nutritional ketosis. Exogenous Ketones can be a great aid, especially in the early phases of a ketogenic diet and when looking for optimal performance, I will discuss these in my next article to provide you with a more in-depth understanding.

What does this state of ketosis achieve:

History & Application:

The ketogenic protocol was first coined and used clinically in the 1920s as an alternative therapy for children with epilepsy. However, fasting which also puts you into a ketogenic state is a key component of most, if not all, religions and has been used to treat disease for thousands of years.

Nowadays, people use the keto protocol primarily for:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased Energy & Mood
  • Increased mental clarity & Focus
  • Increased Performance (Mental & Physical)
  • Better Sleep
  • Faster Recovery
  • Longevity

Chronic Health Conditions that might Benefit from Keto:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancer (glycolytic driven cancers)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Metabolic Syndromes
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  
  • Migraine headaches
  • Gastrointestinal conditions eg. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin conditions eg. acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis

Conditions that are Contraindications Warrant Caution:

  • Those with genetic conditions that affect fatty acid metabolism, including primary carnitine deficiency, pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, etc.
  • Pregnancy. The exception may be gestational diabetes, but even then a low-carb diet with some whole-food carbohydrates is a safer choice, provided the patient can reach the proper blood sugar targets.
  • People with gallbladder disease, or no gallbladder at all, since they can have trouble digesting fats.
  • People with kidney disease, including a history of kidney stones. Some studies suggest that keto can benefit patients with kidney failure, but patients with other kidney issues may be harmed.
  • People with HPA axis dysfunction and high levels of chronic stress.

(Chris Kresser, 2018)

Can this state be measured?

Yes, there are multiple methods of testing, from breath, blood to urine. As everyone will respond differently it is a great idea, especially early on, to track and quantify what constitutes as being in a state of ketosis. After a while, you will develop the ability to associate the feelings and responses linked with the state.

Although it is a great idea to track, I personally believe too many people begin to fixate on the numbers aiming to achieve deeper states. A higher number does not necessarily mean you are getting any more benefit and chasing the number could be costing you in other areas such as increased stress response. The bottom line, don’t get carried away chasing numbers.

Three methods of testing Ketones:

  1. Urine sticks are an inexpensive method that has been shown to be reliable in the early adaptation phase but once adapted not so reliable. Why? Your body becomes efficient at utilising ketones so you won’t excrete them through urine to the same extent, therefore showing a lower reading than it truly is. You can pick these sticks up from most pharmacies reasonably easily.
  2. Blood is known as the more reliable measure and often offers the ability to test glucose levels as well. The most popular handheld blood testing device is Precision Xtra.
  3. Breath Testing is one off upfront cost. Although it is less accurate than blood, many still prefer it as it is simple to use with no need to take blood. One of the most popular handheld devices is the Ketonix

Give me the Numbers:

The state of Ketosis has been widely debated. Mostly due to individual variance and the fact that is not like a switch, it is a gradual shift. It is now widely accepted and used within literature that 0.5mmol/L and above is defined as being in a ketogenic state. Scientists Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, pioneers within the field, described in their book “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living“  ‘light nutritional ketosis’ as between 0.5mmol/L and 1.0mmol/L and ‘optimal ketosis’ is between 1.0mmol/L – 3.0mmol/L.”. However, as mentioned, everyone is different so these numbers do not make or break and they should be utilised as guides

 

3. High Fat Low Carbohydrate (HFLC) protocol

This one says it all in the title, it is all about ditching the carbohydrate and replacing with healthy fats. HFLC is very similar to Keto and even some consider them the same. I often find people who think they are leading a keto diet are actually HFLC and there is nothing wrong with this, it just depends on your goals and what works best for you as an individual. The biggest difference is the carbohydrate intake with HFLC you can eat between 50-150 grams where keto is between 20-50 grams. I spent the month of July discussing HFLC and the effects of carbohydrate so I have plenty of information to look further into, for the time being, I will just offer a brief overview. It is basically eating a greater percentage of healthy unprocessed fats, in replacement of all the refined carbohydrates that are consumed in the Western Diet.

The similarities across all three protocols

  • Less Carbohydrates than standard Western Diet (Fat: 20-30%, Protein 10-35% & Carbohydrate 45-60%). To learn more about how we got the history of the food pyramid to check out one of my previous posts Food Pyramid: We Got It Wrong! And to learn more about the effects of excessive carbohydrates I suggest reading this post Let’s Talk Science: High Carbohydrate Vs High Fat
  • Increase in the consumption of whole foods. Reduction if not removal of processed foods

The biggest differences between the three protocols:

It is important to note that some of these factors also apply within each protocol as well and as mentioned above there is a wide number of subgroups within each protocol.

Macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats): Macronutrients is the obvious difference across the three protocols.

  • Keto: Fat: 80%, Protein: 15% & Carbohydrate: 5%
  • Paleo: Fat: 28-47%, Protein: 19-35% & Carbohydrate: 22-40%
  • HFLC: More of a lifestyle change so no defined macro breakdown. However, it involves limiting carbs as much as possible, aiming to keep within 50-150 grams per day.

Protein Intake: This is one of the most debated topics and you will see variance not only across paleo to keto but within each protocol itself. Mostly due to the fact that excessive protein can lead to the bodies survival mechanism gluconeogenesis (production of turning protein into carbohydrate). It is believed if you deplete your carbohydrate stores and then replace with large amounts of protein it can lead to this process occurring and even though you are not eating carbs your body is creating them. There is a great academic debate going on at the moment. My current opinion and the opinion of the majority is that protein is not a key concern and it is not something you should restrict, as it is such a key component in maintaining and building tissue within the body, therefore especially important for athletes.

To speak to gluconeogenesis, it is important to remember that this is a highly un-efficient mechanism that is the last resort. Unless you are depleted of all your fat stores, which is near impossible, it is easier for your body to use your fat over going through this taxing process.

Fruit: As Paleo aims to emulate our ancestors, fruits are fine to eat. However, when following a ketogenic protocol and carbohydrates being very restricted, the majority of fruits do not fit within the requirements. For this reason, fruit is often restricted in keto. This is not to say you can not eat fruit if you can keep it within the Marcos (Carbohydrate under 5-8%). Keto individuals will traditionally stay clear of white fruits like banana, apples, pears etc as they produce a high glucose response and possess a greater amount of carbohydrate; for example a banana (Average size: 118 grams) has approximately 27 grams of carbs, this one banana alone exceeds the strictest of definitions of keto. Interestingly the carb count will drop the greener the banana. Instead, ketogenic people will often replace these fruits with vibrant colored and antioxidant-rich fruits like berries. For example; 100 grams of Strawberries is 7.68 grams of carbs.

Vegetables: Many believe these protocols are just bacon and oils, void of any vegetables. That is a whole different diet again, Carnivore diet which is growing popularity at the moment. This is an article in itself but put simply, in my opinion, this is not a sustainable long-term diet.

When it comes to vegetables due to the fiber content in vegetables you would be hard pressed to overeat and kick yourself out of ketosis with spinach, zucchini, lettuce, asparagus and kale on a keto diet. Like anything there are some you need to tread more carefully with eg: Bell Peppers (yellow Specifically), Brussels Sprouts, and beans, these possess great carb count. Myself and many others within Keto, HFLC, and Paleo believe vegetables should be the foundation of the diet due to the richness of micronutrients and antioxidants important for health. Many of which actually aid in digesting and removing harmful oxidative stressors.

Dairy: In the strict Paleo sense, dairy of any form was not consumed in the Palaeolithic Era, other than human milk in the infancy of course. It just wasn’t very practical to milk wild game. Whereas keto and HFLC are all about dairy, that is if you can handle it.

 

Reference:

Allen, B. G., Bhatia, S. K., Anderson, C. M., Eichenberger-Gilmore, J. M., Sibenaller, Z. A., Mapuskar, K. A., … Fath, M. A. (2014). Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism. Redox Biology, 2(1), 963–970. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2014.08.002

Dashti, H. M., Mathew, T. C., Hussein, T., Asfar, S. K., Behbahani, A., Khoursheed, M. A., … Al-Zaid, N. S. (2004). Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental and Clinical Cardiology, 9(3), 200–205. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8050289

Deng-Bryant, Y., Prins, M. L., Hovda, D. A., & Harris, N. G. (2011). Ketogenic diet prevents alterations in brain metabolism in young but not adult rats after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 28(9), 1813–1825. https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2011.1822

Di Lorenzo, C., Curra, A., Sirianni, G., Coppola, G., Bracaglia, M., Cardillo, A., … Pierelli, F. (2013). Diet transiently improves migraine in two twin sisters: possible role of ketogenesis? Functional Neurology, 28(4), 305–308.

Evangeliou, A., Vlachonikolis, I., Mihailidou, H., Spilioti, M., Skarpalezou, A., Makaronas, N., … Smeitink, J. (2003). Application of a ketogenic diet in children with autistic behavior: pilot study. Journal of Child Neurology, 18(2), 113–118. https://doi.org/10.1177/08830738030180020501

Gasior, M., Rogawski, M. A., & Hartman, A. L. (2006). Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural Pharmacology, 17(5–6), 431–439. https://doi.org/10.1097/00008877-200609000-00009

Herbert, M. R., & Buckley, J. A. (2013). Autism and dietary therapy: case report and review of the literature. Journal of Child Neurology, 28(8), 975–982. https://doi.org/10.1177/0883073813488668

Hu, Z.-G., Wang, H.-D., Qiao, L., Yan, W., Tan, Q.-F., & Yin, H.-X. (2009). The protective effect of the ketogenic diet on traumatic brain injury-induced cell death in juvenile rats. Brain Injury, 23(5), 459–465. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699050902788469

Mychasiuk, R., & Rho, J. M. (2017). Genetic modifications associated with ketogenic diet treatment in the BTBR(T+Tf/J) mouse model of autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research : Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 10(3), 456–471. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1682

Paoli, A., Bianco, A., Damiani, E., & Bosco, G. (2014). Ketogenic diet in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. BioMed Research International, 2014(2). https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/474296

Prins, M. L., & Matsumoto, J. H. (2014). The collective therapeutic potential of cerebral ketone metabolism in traumatic brain injury. Journal of Lipid Research, 55(12), 2450–2457. https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.R046706

Remahl, S., Dahlin, M. G., & Amark, P. E. (2008). Influence of the ketogenic diet on 24-hour electroencephalogram in children with  epilepsy. Pediatric Neurology, 38(1), 38–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.09.002

Schmidt, M., Pfetzer, N., Schwab, M., Strauss, I., & Kämmerer, U. (2011). Effects of a ketogenic diet on the quality of life in 16 patients with advanced cancer: A pilot trial. Nutrition & Metabolism, 8(1), 54. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-8-54

Stafstrom, C. E., & Rho, J. M. (2012). The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3 APR(April), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2012.00059

Storoni, M., & Plant, G. T. (2015). The Therapeutic Potential of the Ketogenic Diet in Treating Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis International, 2015, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/681289

Volek, J. S., Phinney, S. D., Forsythe, C. E., Quann, E. E., Wood, R. J., Puglisi, M. J., … Feinman, R. D. (2009). Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet. Lipids, 44(4), 297–309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-008-3274-2

7 Strategies to Structure Your Day for Nutritional Success

 I am extremely grateful that we were able to secure Cliff Harvey to come down to Hamilton and present in the Taylored studio last week.

Cliff is someone I have followed and highly respected throughout my academic career. As a lot of his work is in academia not too many had much knowledge of him, even though no doubt you have come across some of his work or products at some point or another. From Cliffs books to his the products he has helped create like Nuzest, Cliff is a wealth of knowledge and was great to bring him in and provide a stage for him to share his knowledge.

With so many nuggets of information from Cliff’s talk, I thought I would collate his thoughts for those who attended and those who missed out. Especially as he did so well to keep it simple and actionable and at Taylored Health & Performance that is what we are all about.

Cliff, like us at Taylored, is all about performance. Performance to us does not necessarily mean athletic performance, it is all about getting individuals performing at their best whatever that is. It could be as simple as more energy to be able to spend more quality time with your kids, through to athletic endeavors. Regardless, these foundational strategies listed below should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.

In this post I will be discussing Cliff’s strategies for success, I will highlight how I personally implement them to give you an idea of methods for applying these essential strategies.

  1. Hydration

Dehydration has a profound effect on performance and is one of the quickest and easiest to fix, yet it is so commonly neglected. It can be easy to think our bodies shut down at night although this is not the case. sleep is the time where our bodies are working hard to recover from the day before as we store memories and doing vital tasks such as detoxifying your liver etc.

With as little as 2% water loss of body weight, this causes noticeable decreases in physical and mental performance. Losses of 5% or more during physical activity may decrease the capacity of roughly 30%. Additionally, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal problems have also been associated with losses greater than 2%. You would be doing well to achieve this kind of dehydration through sleep but it is still important to understand the gravity or importance of dehydration.

Application: This one is as simple as starting your day with water. Ideally don’t skull it, gradually sip on the glass and for added absorption and retention you can add a pinch of mineral-rich salt (Colima or Pink Himalayan).

Personally: I place a glass of water with a pinch mineral-rich salt to drink as I wake up, I will also often have a freshly squeezed lemon and apple cider vinegar with mineral-rich salt as a lukewarm tea, to prime the gut and promote digestion. Don’t boil the water as it has the potential to denature the apple cider vinegar

 

2. Mindfulness

Kickstart your day being present.

What is mindfulness? The act of detaching yourself from the past and the future and being truly present at the moment, the truth is you can not change the past nor can you impact the future without being present. Being mindful and present you will begin to enjoy the small things and not stress the big stuff, all of which will increase levels of gratitude and a better way of life.

Not only will you see a direct impact in your life overall, but also, those who practice mindfulness increased levels of diet compliance, with reductions in binge eating, emotional eating, and weight and fat-loss, most likely due to the impact on the ability to be present and make better decisions.

Application: Everyone has a couple of spare minutes per day, we are habitual creatures by nature so start small to build the habit, even if it is 1-2 min per day that is great! As you find more time you can gradually increase this and take it as far as you wish.

Personally: I do a minimum of 10 min per day, 5 min of which is first thing lying along my roller doing postural rest (in the sun if possible) listening to Headspaces guided practices (Normally: Early Mornings, or Waking Up session). The other 5 min I will fit into the day somewhere when I need, and on top this I often throw another 10 min in to help unwind and put myself to sleep (Headspace: Sleeping, knocks me out every time!)

Find what works for you

Important to note you don’t have to have a dedicated guided mindfulness practice like me it could be as simple as sitting and counting your breaths or going for a short mindful focused walk.

Examples:

Breathing: Place your hands on the stomach to feel rising and falling with breath then count 1 for lift 2 for fall 3 lift 4 fall for 5 cycles to 10 and then begin the cycle again. Aim to complete at least 5 cycles of this with the intention of detaching yourself from your surroundings and focusing in on just the rising and falling of your breath

Mindful Walking: An old Buddhist practice, it is a way to practice mindfulness while moving without a goal or intention. Mindful walking simply means walking while being aware of each step and of our breath. Keep your steps slow, relaxed, and calm. There is no rush, no place to be and most importantly no need to hurry.

 

3. Move

This is not necessarily a time for high-intensity training, instead, it is a time to get the body moving. Simple movements that can be replicated each and every morning. From mobility, yoga, walking or a light jog. This is a great chance to either continue your mindfulness practice or if pushed for time combine the two together.

I completely agree with Cliff that this is a time for gentle movement, especially if you are about to head to a desk and sit down all day. First of all, it will put yourself in a stressed state (fight or flight), plus you are quite possibly fatiguing key postural muscles leading to poor posture throughout the day while you are at your desk, this eventually resulting in imbalances and injury, if not addressed.

Obviously, movement is something at Taylored Health we are especially passionate about and the sad truth is our twenty-first century lifestyles are having a significant impact on our bodies and the way we now move. As we spend too much time sitting and spending all our lives using our anterior chain (front of our body) and not our posterior chain (back of our body). We are seeing more and more anterior dominance such as anterior pelvic tilts (pelvis tilting forwards) and kyphotic postures (rounding of the shoulders). If you are not completing imbalance correction work for undoing this, you are setting yourself up for future injuries.

At Taylored we take a hierarchy approach to programming, we don’t believe in extensive 1-1.5hr long session every day. We understand the biggest commodity is time so we are all about efficiency, providing our clients with a 3 or 4 short but key exercises that will promote the greatest response for them, these will normally be completed within 5-10 mins a day. Following the key priority exercises, we provide secondary and additional focuses beyond these that can be done when your schedule allows.

Application: Similar to mindfulness, work with the time you have then gradually increase where possible but I would suggest aiming for 5-10 mins each morning of gentle movement.

Personally: I aim to get outside (Sun Vit D= Resetting circadian rhythm) for a light walk and mobility. However, not always possible especially in winter so stick to mobility inside but I always do my best to get outside because the sun is even more important in winter.

 

4. Don’t Snack

Contrary to the beliefs of most nutritionist advice, out with the intensive 6 meals per day plan of forcing food down when you are not hungry “to maintain a fast metabolism”. Instead, come to in tune with your bodies needs and eat when hungry not because it is a habit or you think or have been told that you should eat frequently. You need to become mindful of your body and what it is telling you.

Humans have functioned and evolved within feast and famine environment for the majority of our existence. It is how our bodies are used to functioning. Just because technology now allows us to regularly graze, binge and overeat at the click of a button doesn’t mean we should! Frequent eating just places greater demand on our digestive system to consistently digest food instead of completing a restorative process that aid in overall health and longevity.

Application: Simple! Ditch the snacks and instead focus on quality nutritional dense meals that will nourish your body with the nutrients and fuel they require.

1-3 Meals should be plenty for the majority of the population

Personally: I apply time restricting eating most days, something before ditching carbohydrate that would have never been possible for me as I was always hungry!

I normally fast from 7pm-11am ish. However, this window varies greatly as I listen to my body and just eat when hungry. Too many people get fixated on hitting the magical 16hr mark but we need to keep in mind everyone is different and our bodies don’t function as a switch. My fasted windows are sometimes shorter and longer, they personally range between 14-18 hrs per day for me.

My breakfast is normally around the time most are having lunch (11am), and for most people, they would get away with just one other meal at dinner around 6pm, I sometimes eat like this when not training. However, I personally still have 3 meals roughly around 11am, 3pm and 6pm. Why? As an Ironman athlete, I burn through a lot more energy than the general population. Just another example that there is no one size fits all approach, it will depend on your needs

 

6. Protein First

Why protein?

Protein is structure – it is the building blocks of the human body, plus it is the most satiating nutrient, keeping you full and satisfied for longer.

The great thing about the majority of quality protein sources, you will often find good fats, and plenty of micronutrients, making it a great base to build meals off.

Application:

2x Palms sized servings of protein every meal

Ensure the protein source is unprocessed and is as close to nature as possible to ensure it has not had all the nutrients stripped out from being processed and refined.

Personally:

Protein is especially important for me as an athlete to aid my recovery from my training and for building muscle so I ensure I include a wide variety of good quality protein sources.  

 

6. Vegetable’s second

Many people think leading high-fat lifestyle means vegetables are not important because there are carbohydrate based. However, due to the fiber associated they do not possess the same as most carbohydrates and the fact that they are action packed with micronutrients outweighs the minimal carbohydrate they possess any way.

Application:

3x fist size of vegetables

Strive for organic, home grown vegetables

Aim for a diverse vibrant range of vegetables on your plate. Produce rich in Antioxidant content have been associated with with the more vibrant coloured produce (blues, purples, reds) along with being proven to taste better. This is why your vegetable garden tastes 100x better than supermarket produce, they are not mass produced in nutrient deficient soils, plus they have no added substances to preserve the fruit.

Personally:

Every meal I have you will just about always see it combined with a large amount of dark leafy greens (spinach, kale etc) whether on a plate or in a smoothie. Packed full of nutrients and more recently have been identified to promote with gut health. Especially important for me as I have dealt with a Candida in the past. On top of this, as mentioned above, I try to vary the colours up and eat from my parents vegetable garden the majority of the time. I have tried making my own vegetable garden but that didn’t go to well so I outsourced to my dad who loves it.

 

7. Carbohydrate: Appropriate to your needs

Eat carbohydrate appropriate to your individuals needs.

Carbohydrate intake needs will be greatly varied from person to person. Some will possess the ability to breakdown and utilise carbohydrate better than others and also activity levels along with exercise intensity can impact the amount of carbohydrate one can consume. On top of these factors your goals can also determine the amount of carbohydrate you should consume.

Cliff is currently working on a study getting released in the next few months which has come up with an interesting discovering that your triglycerides may play a vital role in how much carbohydrate you tolerate and require to function optimally. By lowering your Triglycerides (fatty acids) you are more likely to be able to handle a higher amount of carbohydrate.

Application:

As mentioned above this will be extremely individual but something I would suggest limiting where possible or at least aim to remove the processed and refined carbohydrates (biscuits, pasta, bread, cereals etc).

Personally:

I limit my carbohydrates as much as possible.

Do I have any carbohydrates? Yes, I do but mostly in the evening.

Why?

I am all about performance, both mentally and physically, I want to stay sharp with mental clarity with focus and a steady flow of energy and I personally find the spikes and crashes associated with carbohydrate do not promote this state. This is why I stay clear of carbohydrate until the evening where I can refuel and replenish carbohydrate stores if I feel I need it. The amount of carbohydrate, if any, is dependant on how I feel and the needs from the day and of the coming day(have I had a big training day or do I have a big one coming up). I still stay clear of processed and refined carbohydrates and normally select something like kumara.

On top of this, I take it a step further as an athlete, as I have trained my body to be fat adapted (Metabolically flexible). This involves a fair bit of fasted training sessions, to further deplete carbohydrates stored and to teach my body to utilise fat as the primary fuel source, offering me the ability to train longer compared to most without the need for regular refueling and the gastrointestinal stress that is often associated with this.

 

References:

Jeukendrup, Asker, and Michael Gleeson. “Dehydration and Its Effects on Performance.” Humankinetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2015.

Katterman SN, Kleinman BM, Hood MM, Nackers LM, Corsica JA. Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: A systematic review. Eating behaviors. 2014 Apr 1;15(2):197-204.

Olson KL, Emery CF. Mindfulness and weight loss: a systematic review. Psychosomatic medicine. 2015 Jan 1;77(1):59-67.

Shirreffs, S. M., & Sawka, M. N. (2011). Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29 Suppl 1, S39-46. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.614269

 

The Most Restorative Sleep you will EVER have

Now it is time to bring sleep month all together. Over the last month we have discussed various factors and their effects on sleep. The final step now is to provide you with a resource full of tips, tricks and hacks to ensure you sleep like a baby again.

Design your Sleep Sanctuary

A bedroom should be a place to escape, unwind and sleep. It should not be your main ‘hangout’ place where you watch movies or get hooked on the latest netflix series. Even more importantly, your bedroom should not be another place where you do work.

The bedroom really is designed for two activities and should remain this way! The increase in leisure and work activities you do within your bedroom will promote a negative association with you, your bedroom and sleep. This combination will increase the likelihood of you having a poor night’s sleep. However, if you draw a line in the sand and keep the work, movies, social media at the door, you are setting yourself up for success and unbelievably good sleep.

My goal with this article is to outline the ultimate sleep sanctuary that everybody should strive for. The idea is to provide you with the tools and tricks to create your own sleep sanctuary at a low cost or higher cost if you really want to get serious. But these small changes and additions could be the most impactful investments you ever make to your sleep.

Creating the Perfect Sleep Sanctuary

The sleep sanctuary aka the bedroom, really the most important room in the house to get right. As mentioned above, you need to set yourself up for success. If it is not sleep or sex (sex has many positive sleep benefits) leave it out of the bedroom!

Below what you will find is a list of key things to include to promote a good night’s sleep.

 

Ditch Technology:

“BUT my phone is my alarm in the morning”

Simple buy an old school alarm clock (one that doesn’t emit light). There is no need for you to be surrounded by technology 24 hours a day. Try to make your bedroom a Tech-Free Zone! As discussed in an earlier post the EMF from your phone is causing more harm than good and is something you don’t want to deal with. Beside the EMF’s your body will have to deal with the bluelight from the phone screen.  This can be mediated with an app on the phone, such as FLux, which will extract bluelight from your devices (both laptop and phone). On top of this if you are really serious, like me, I would suggest changing your light to low blue light bulbs and investing in some blue blocking glasses to really full proof your exposure to blue light exposure at night.

 

Black it Out: Every sleep environment should be blacked out, there should be no light seeping through the window or the curtain. Obviously this is even more important if you are living in a city environment. There is some research that has shown that our skin is so sensitive to light that even if we wear an eye mask and shine a light the size of a pin prick on the back of the knee, it will disrupt/disturb our sleep.Therefore, any light seeping through the curtain or even a small flashing light from any form of technology (e.g. like a charging light or alarm clock) is going to greatly impact your sleep.

Target: Ideally you want to be able to extend your arm out in front of you and it should be dark enough that you should not see your hand.

 

Airflow: Crack the window!

First, check that your room is mold free and regularly stay on top of this! Nothing more important than this!

Stale air is the last thing you want in a bedroom, you want free flowing air. This free flowing air will promote the concentration of negative ions within your bedroom especially if you live close to nature. However, if this is not possible or ideal due to temperature or pollution from living within a city you want to look at investing in an ioniser. This will work to produce negative ions within your sleep environment and will help get you bouncing out of bed in the morning.

 

Essential oils

Essential oils are a great way to really create that sleep sanctuary with some sleep aiding scents. Aromatherapy has been used for years and is well recognised for its sleep aiding benefits. There are a wide variety of different oils associated with promoting sleep.

Sleep Aiding Oils: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary sage, Jasmine

Don’t have a diffuser, no worries mix essential oils with a carrier oil (eg coconut oil) to topically apply to skin. Don’t apply directly as concentration is to high for skin and as for anything there can be too much of a good thing.

 

Plants

Plant are natural air purifiers and a great addition to any sleep sanctuary not only will they keep the air fresh they will also aid in decorating and livening up your room.

Examples Include: Aloe vera, English Ivy, & Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue). All of which are very low maintenance.

 

 

 

Mattress & Pillow

When talking about a sleep sanctuary the Mattress & Pillow combination cannot be skipped over. These two elements are  key component as discussed in previous post. In my opinion you can not go past the ECOSA mattress and pillow as it caters to all sleep positions and body types.

 

 

 

Sleep Aiding Gadgets and Strategies

If you really want to improve your sleep, then this next section is for you! I will provide some powerful sleep tracking and hacking tools, that will take your sleep to the next level.

 

Sleep and Performance Tracking:

Are you rested and recovered? What is quantifiable is measurable.

HRV has been shown to be one of the most powerful measures in identify and tracking excessive stress. It could be used to track mental stress or training stress such as overtraining etc. It measures this by calculating the time variation between heart beats.

Majority of tracking tools now utilise HRV and the tracking tool you choose to use is up to you and your budget. Like anything in this domain the more you spend the more you get. But you also don’t have to spend a fortune to get HRV tracking benefits.

HRV4 Training is a perfect option for the price sensitive person as all you need is the app (small cost: $15.99) and a newish mobile phone that has the capability to track through camera lense (most phones these days). This app is great as it combines with with subjective measures to get a well rounded picture. The app offers a pro-version with even more capabilities (less than: $50/Year). In my opinion whether go go on pro-version or not HRV is an essential measure for any high performing athlete or worker.

If you want to get serious, the Oura Ring in my opinion is the best personal sleep tracking device on the market! This company has managed to compress everything in to a ring! No, not a watch but a ring! The light sensor of the ring capture 250 samples per second for a constant flow of reliable data. The ring detects the pulse waveform and amplitude variation, and exact time between heartbeats. It is also equipped with a precise 3D accelerometer and gyroscope to track activity and it’s intensity. Finally, it also records body temperature and tracks it to the minute. These combined measurements provide a high power measure for tracking your current health status. It has phenomenal capabilities for such a small device and the new model coming out next month is now even smaller and more powerful. If you are passionate about sleep this is a device you need to check out! Also they have offered a discount of $50 US at check out with code “Taylored”

 

Body Temperature Regulation:

If the breathability of your new ECOSA mattress is not regulating your temperature enough and you run hot temperature like me, you can take it a step further and get yourself a Chili Pad. This will offer you the ability to set the temperature of your bed for optimal sleep quality. It even gives you the ability to individualise the temperatures to each partner’s needs. This has been referenced by many Kelly Starrett & Tim Ferriss as one of the most powerful sleep hacks you can implement.

 

 

My favorite Downregulation Sleep Aid:

When wired and tired with plenty on the mind and you can not seem to downregulate, that is when I use the Headspace Mindfulness App. This app not only aids in meditation practice and mindfulness but offers a great selection of sleep aiding sessions include my favorite 10 min sleep session that knocks me out everytime.

 

Noisy environment:

For those trying to get to sleep in noisy environments. Get yourself an app or device that plays White Noise or Water Noise both of which have been clinically shown to help you get to sleep.

 

Grounding:

Grounding or Earthing is the connection to the Earth’s natural negatively charged energy. Known to increase mood, decrease inflammation & stress, it is simple and powerful. The hallmark of grounding is its ability to achieve alpha brain wave state, which is seen in deep meditative states and in healing sleep states. There are many ways to do this, but the simple version involves you getting into nature and kicking off your shoes.

But with technology we can now produce this energy through PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) Therapy & Electrical Stimulation. These are some of the most powerful biohacking tools with proven benefits. The Earthpulse, a grounding mat or grounding bedspread, is a PEMF therapy device that provides better sleep & recovery than ever before. It is not a cheap device but if you are serious about your sleep it is money well spent!

 

Wake up Fresh & Ready to Go:

Bounce out of bed with a Sunrise Alarm Clock. The Natural light alarm clock was designed for a more natural wake-up. The lamp emits natural light as an alarm to improve your ability to function in the morning.

Other alternative is phone apps such as Sleep as Android that wakes you up in lighter stage of your sleep cycle by tracking movement and noise, helping you wake up fresh in the morning. I am sure we have all felt the effects of the alarm going off while we are in a deep sleep, and well it really isn’t fun. This app also allows you to rate and track your sleep. Plus it is great if you want to see if you snore as it offers a recording function.  

 

Circadian Rhythm Hack

One of the most powerful things you can do for priming your circadian rhythm is morning exposure to sun (No sunglasses or sun protection if possible). This coupled with light movement such as yoga, some mobility or a walk. You will not only be energised for the day ahead but syncing the body clock to the sun.

But what if this is not an option?

Treat Winter Blues

We have discussed the powerful effects of bluelight in affecting your sleep, if utilised smartly it can be a great tool in establishing circadian rhythm especially when access to natural light isn’t easy. The Re-Timer is a tool that you can wear either in the morning or evening, depending on how you want to change your sleep. The light is UV-free and has been independently tested for eye safety to the international standard.

 

 

Sleep Enhancing Supplement

Magnesium is an important mineral and is necessary for overall health. Every cell and organ in your body requires this mineral to function properly. It contributes to bone health, along with brain, heart and muscle function. Magnesium is found in foods such as; green vegetables, nuts, cereals, meat, fish and fruit, so it is important that you aim to eat these foods regularly.

Magnesium is often the first supplement to be suggested for sleep, due to magnesium ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (down-regulation system). Therefore, deficiency in magnesium can lead to poor sleep and even insomnia.

Certain populations are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency, including those people with digestive diseases. Issues with your digestive tract can cause your body to not absorb vitamins and minerals properly, resulting in various micronutrient (vitamins and mineral) deficiencies. Other people affected by this deficiency include diabetics, individuals with an alcohol dependence, older adults (many factors could affect this including current inflammatory state, disease, quantity of food intake) and athletes. It is recommended that athletes get sufficient magnesium to assist in recovery from large training loads

Dose:

Oral:

The Institute of Medicine suggests a daily oral dietary intake of 310–360 mg of magnesium for adult women and 400–420 mg for adult men.

Transdermal (absorbed through skin):

Often not thought of when it comes to supplementing magnesium but an Epson salt bath or a Float, which has a high concentration of magnesium, can be absorbed through the skin and bypass the gastrointestinal track. Therefore, these are great alternative methods if you struggle with oral supplementation. Additionally, you can get magnesium sprays, which are great to apply prior to jumping into bed.

What is the best option?

Yet to be conclusively defined. Transdermal does seemingly offer great potential but I think a combination of both may be best! Oral is easy to comply to on a routine basis where booking in for a float is often less frequent. My routine is a weekly Float coupled with daily supplementation of BePure new Magnesium.

 

Summary:

The ability to hack your sleep is endless and this is a quickly growing industry as we learn more about the power of sleep. Above is a my favorite sleep hacks and if implemented you will achieve the best most restorative sleep possible and feel amazing for it!